WHEREAS Louisiana’s reputation as Sportsman’s Paradise is integrally tied to the health and abundance of public land, forests, bayous, rivers, lakes, estuaries, and wetlands in our state that support the diversity of wildlife species and the natural resources we enjoy; and
WHEREAS the outdoor recreation sector contributes $1.6 billion in revenue to the state economy annually and Louisiana’s estuaries provide valuable breeding, spawning, feeding and nursery ground for many fish and shellfish at some point during their life cycles, which supports Louisiana’s commercial and recreational fishing industries; and
WHEREAS Lake Maurepas is a 15,000-plus acre shallow brackish water tidal estuarine system that receives freshwater from local rivers as part of the Lake Pontchartrain watershed; and is home to bass, crappie, catfish and bream; resident birds, including wood ducks, black-bellied whistling ducks, egrets, and herons which can be found in the area year-round; and
WHEREAS Lake Maurepas as an estuary is important to the lifecycle of shrimp, is a breeding and winter hibernation site for blue crabs, and houses Rangia clams that filter water and provide food for other species; and
WHEREAS Lake Maurepas is a popular location for recreational boating and water sport activities for local residents and families; and
WHEREAS the adjacent Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area is home to bald eagles and osprey and numerous species of neotropical migrant birds who use this coastal forest habitat during fall and spring migrations in the Mississippi Flyway; and
WHEREAS carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) is a process employed to reduce the amount of COշ in the atmosphere, whereby carbon is captured and either utilized for another process, or liquified and transported via pipelines for storage deep in subsurface geological formations; and
WHEREAS hydrogen production is called ‘blue’ whenever the COշ generated from steam reforming is captured and stored, thereby essentially eliminating the COշ emission output; and
WHEREAS Air Products Blue Energy, LLC, is planning to construct a $4.5 billion blue hydrogen complex in Darrow, Louisiana located in Asension Parish with plans to capture and store the COշ produced from the production of hydrogen which will then be compressed and transported by pipeline to multiple inland sequestration sites including a tract comprised of 33,146 acres located in the Canal Bank area of the Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area, a tract comprised of 57,100 acres consisting of Lake Maurepas and a tract comprised of 32,209 acres consisting of Sabine Lake; and
WHEREAS residents living and working around Lake Maurepas have been vocal advocates against the speed in which this project is advancing concerned that regulators are not giving ample consideration to protecting area residents from the dangers of possible COշ leakage from catastrophic failures; impact to Lake recreational activities; the potential for faults in the geological formations below the Lake; disruption to wildlife and fisheries from seismic testing and future monitoring; fears of over-dredging of the lake’s water bottoms for deepening transport channels; and subsidence from previous drilling.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that LWF does hereby acknowledge that carbon capture utilization and storage projects and the expansion of blue hydrogen production for the purpose of reducing COշ atmospheric emissions can advance the federal and state goals of reducing carbon emissions in the short term as the world transitions to more renewable energy production; and further affirms that carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) is an effective process when properly regulated and monitored for potential adverse impacts on the public and its natural resources; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that LWF does not support a CCUS project sited in Lake Maurepas due to its unique ecologically important estuarine system for which adequate mitigation of damage cannot be guaranteed, and for which its scenic value and recreational use would be greatly diminished; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that LWF urges the state of Louisiana to first and foremost protect the safety and viability of the state’s publicly-held forests, lakes, swamps and other wetland habitats by creating siting criteria for future CCUS projects that considers local input, and employs cost-benefit analyses to ensure the state’s assets are protected from irreversible ecological damage and public access to healthy recreational opportunities are preserved for residents and future generations to enjoy; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that LWF recommends that before a federal or state regulatory agency permits a CCUS project that a rigorous environmental impact analysis is conducted that includes an analysis of the foreseeable direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of the construction, drilling and monitoring; that engages local communities during the scoping phase to identify alternatives to the proposed action, including alternatives that reduce environmental impacts; and which considers the long-term potential exposure to the public in the event of a catastrophic pipeline or well failure; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that LWF endorses federal guidance issued by the White House Council on Environmental Quality that requires close monitoring and enforcement of existing regulations and the development of new tools to monitor and improve safety of CCUS projects while also reducing the number of incidents that result in leakage of carbon dioxide; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that LWF believes strongly that CCUS should only advance in Louisiana under a robust regulatory structure that is informed by science and past experience, includes meaningful public engagement, and takes into consideration the impact on communities already overburdened with industrial activity; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that LWF supports meaningful legislation to create a regulatory framework for evaluating and permitting CCUS projects in Louisiana, limit the state’s responsibility for capped wells and increase investment for the purpose of adequately scaling staff and resources necessary to effectively monitor and enforce federal and state laws governing CCUS.
Adopted by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation Board of Directors at its meeting on May 13, 2023 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.